Waffles and pancakes are fundamentally similar but slightly different in how they are cooked and prepared.
If you have run out of ingredients to make fresh pancakes then there might be an easier alternative that you can use to get more or less the same fluffy, chewy and delicious pancakes in the morning!
Can you use waffle mix to make pancakes? Yes, you can. Waffle mix contains all of the basic ingredients that go into making airy and delicious pancakes. All you need to do is to prepare the batter by adjusting a few ingredients and then cook it in a pan instead of a waffle iron.
Read below to learn more about the differences between pancakes and waffle batter and how to cook them just like pancakes!
The Differences Between Pancake and Waffle Batter
If you were to look at a recipe for both waffles and pancakes, you would find a lot of similarities. That is because both of these foods are considered to be a form of quick bread.
Quick bread is any baking product that is leavened using baking powder or baking soda, instead of yeast.
Chemical leavening enables bakers to quickly make flour-based goods without waiting for the mixture to proof.
Waffle Batter Basics
Before we talk about how to make pancakes with waffle batter, there are a few technical aspects to waffles that we need to clear before we can begin.
Waffles are made in a wide variety of ways but most people tend to use two main methods:
- Batter Method
- Dough Method
The batter method is a classical and straightforward approach to making delicious waffles – and this method also happens to be more similar to pancakes!
To prepare the batter you need a mixture of all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, milk, and vanilla extract – the same recipe as pancakes.
However, a fundamental difference between waffles and pancakes lies in the proportion of each ingredient, where waffles require a bit more fat and a little more sugar than pancakes.
The extra fat adds to the fluffiness and crispiness while the extra sugar helps caramelize the exterior and add that distinct crisp that waffles are known for.
On the other hand, the dough method is a complete departure from regular pancake recipes because this method calls for a yeast dough that needs to proof just like typical bread dough.
This method is usually reserved for classic and authentic Belgian waffles (more on this below)
But in the case of commercial waffle mixes, you are more likely to use the batter method than the dough method (unless it’s specified on the box) – which means that you may just be able to use it to make pancakes too!
How Is Each Batter Different?
So, if waffle mix can be used to make pancakes, can you use pancake mix to make waffles?
Yes and no. To help you understand, we’ll list the best available mixes for each and list down their main ingredients.
Waffle Mix Ingredients: Enriched bleached flour, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, salt, dextrose, soybean oil, isolated soy protein, and natural flavor.
Pancake Mix Ingredients: Enriched bleached flour, sugar, dextrose, leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), food starch-modified, salt, soybean oil, egg whites, buttermilk.
Here is a quick visual comparison between the two:
|Pancake Mix||Waffle Mix|
|Enriched bleached flour||Enriched bleached flour|
|Baking soda and baking powder||Baking powder|
|Soybean Oil||Soybean Oil|
|Egg whites||Soy protein|
Notice how both recipes share the exact same ingredients – apart from the highlighted ingredients at the bottom.
These different ingredients subtly change the texture of each product to make it have a slightly different characteristic.
In the case of pancakes, the added egg whites and starch will provide a fluffy and chewy texture to the pancakes – while for the waffles, you will need additional fat in the form of egg yolks – and more oil than what is required in a typical serving of pancakes.
In some cases, pancake batter might not be suitable for making waffles, especially when the resulting mixture is runnier.
Sure, you can add more dry ingredients to counter this but this might ultimately affect the flavor and texture of the final product.
So, if you do decide to use either mix, you might get slightly different results but, in an emergency, you may be able to get away with using pancake mix to make waffles and vice versa.
How to Use Waffle Mix to Make Pancakes
Here is how you can make pancakes using any type of waffle mix! We recommend using this waffle mix for the best experience.
- Prepare the batter by mixing the dry waffle mix and all the extra ingredients as stated in the box. Remember, when you are making pancakes, you might want to ease up on the oil and eggs.
- As a rule of thumb, start with half the eggs and oil indicated on the back of the waffle mix packaging to make great pancakes.
- Pro Tip: Most mixes call for water instead of milk for added convenience. But you can still use milk or any type of milk substitute instead of water. The added milk will lead to fluffier pancakes and may also add a slightly richer texture too.
- Whisk the mixture until homogenous then fire up a griddle at medium heat. Once heated, apply a light coating of cooking spray and pour out the mixed batter as needed.
- Ideally, you would want to cook for 1 ½ minute on each side.
- Wait until the batter has spread a little and you start to see bubbles at the top. This will indicate that the bottom has cooked! Use a spatula to gently lift a side of the pancake.
- Check for doneness – if you need the pancake to have a more golden crust then cook for 15-30 more seconds or just flip and cook the other side.
- Once both sides have been cooked, repeat the above steps for the remaining batter and enjoy with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and a piece of butter!
Notable Differences in Final Product
Here are a few key differences that you might notice when using waffle mix to make pancakes:
- The pancakes might be a bit less chewy than usual.
- The pancakes will not be as porous and may not soak in the condiments that you add on top.
- The sides and center of the pancakes may be a bit crispier.
These differences are usually negligible and many people might not even notice them but if you look for them closely, you will find slight discrepancies in texture – but the flavor will be the same in both cases.
How to Make Waffles Using Pancake Mix
Now that we have discussed how to make pancakes from waffle mix, it’s time to look at the opposite scenario too.
This is important because it will help you understand the subtle differences in each product and how best to use them in certain conditions.
- For this method, we will be using this pancake mix to make crispy waffles. Begin by preheating the waffle iron at your preferred heating setting. We recommend going with a light brown toast on each side.
- Pro Tip: If the batter is runnier then you can add a bit more pancake mix to make it thicker. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of pancake mix to make a serving of pancakes, then you should go with 3 cups for waffles.
- Measure out all the ingredients as stated on the box.
- For the best-tasting waffles, we will be using twice the additional ingredients as required per serving. If the recipe calls for 1 egg and 1.5 tbsp of oil then you should use 2 eggs and 3 Tbsp of oil to ensure a light texture and crispiness.
- Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until you get a smooth batter. Spray some oil over the cooking surface in the waffle iron.
- Scoop out some of the batter and pour it over the waffle iron and tightly close it. Most waffle irons will indicate when you should flip the iron – but if you don’t have the flip functionality then just wait until the indicator turns on.
- Once done, carefully take out the prepared waffle and repeat the steps above for the remaining batter. Serve the waffles with sliced fruit, maple syrup, butter, and more!
For a visual tutorial, take a look at the video below from Mommy Mouse Clubhouse Recipes on YouTube.
Using pancake mix to make waffles should turn out fine but you might be able to notice a few key differences:
- The waffles may be limp and noticeably chewier.
- The waffles will soak in more maple syrup or any condiment than usual.
- The pockets may be crispier than the rest of the waffle.
Again, these differences might not be noticeable for someone who does a blind taste test but most people may still be able to pick up on slight differences, but will they pass as waffles? Yes!
Using Homemade Batter Interchangeably
We have talked a lot about pre-made and commercial mixes but when it comes to homemade waffle and pancake batter, can you apply the same fluidity for both these foods?
The short answer is: yes! But there are a few considerations that you will have to keep in mind.
First of all, if you decide to make authentic Belgian waffles using yeast, then you will NOT be able to make pancakes the same way.
Cooking a dough will not yield the same results as a batter and you are better off making a new batch of pancakes from scratch.
In most cases, when using a typical batter, you can easily interchange the batters to make either pancakes or waffles.
But please keep in mind that it is much easier to make waffles using pancake batter because then you will only need to add more eggs and oil to make them fluffy and crispy.
In the case of a waffle batter that already has extra eggs and oil, it will be challenging to make regular-tasting pancakes due to the added fat and oil content.
If you do prepare a waffle batter and decide to make pancakes, then the easiest way to fix the mixture would be to adjust the ingredients by increasing the serving size to match the added eggs and oil.
This will of course result in more pancakes but at least you won’t have to deal with varying textures in the final product.
Homemade batters are much easier to work with and you can also adjust the ingredients as per your liking.
Using homemade batter may also help demystify the process of making each product and you will be better able to understand the differences between them too!
More Tips and Tricks
Waffle and pancake batter is similar but both require a little bit of extra attention, here are some tips and tricks to maximize your experience:
- Adding buttermilk to waffles and pancakes will make them even more delicious and will help them get a crisper exterior too. Check the pancake or waffle mix ingredients at the back of the packaging to confirm whether the mix already contains buttermilk, though.
- When using pancake mix to make waffles, you might want to turn the heat down on your waffle iron. Chances are that the pancake mix might contain additional egg whites that will quickly caramelize the exterior.
- Always make a test batch using the first iteration of the batter, especially when using different types of mixes. You can then adjust the batter accordingly as per the required characteristics.
- Try substituting oil with room-temperature unsalted butter to add a layer of richness and crispiness to your pancakes and waffles.
- While not necessary, you should always sift the commercial mixes to minimize the chances of forming lumps in the dough which may lead to textural inconsistencies in the end product, especially if you decide to over-mix the ingredients to get rid of the lumps!
Using waffle mix to make pancakes is a great shortcut that you can use in emergencies – but you should try to always adjust the ingredients to make each product retain its distinct characteristic.
Now that you know how to make waffle-mix pancakes, here are some related questions:
Will Using Waffle Mix Affect the Shelf Life or Storage Indications of the Pancakes?
Using either mix will have no difference in how you should store the final product. Move the leftovers into an airtight bag and refrigerate or freeze.
Consume within 1-2 days (fridge) or 2-3 weeks (freezer) for the best flavor and texture. Reheat using either the griddle (for pancakes) or the waffle iron.
Should I Use Cold or Warm Milk for the Pancake Mix?
Generally, most pancake mixes call for cold water because it helps relax the gluten in the batter and leads to a fluffy and deliciously balanced pancake.
You can also use cold milk instead of water but we recommend mixing in room-temperature milk for the best experience.
Should I Add Baking Soda to the Waffle Mix?
When making waffles, you will never need to add baking soda to the mixture as it may cause the waffles to puff up more than necessary – but this characteristic may come in handy when making pancakes.
If you decide to use waffle mix to make pancakes then you should add just a light pinch of baking soda to the mixture to make the pancakes puff up more.
This will aerate the finished product and will also lead to deliciously chewy pancakes.